To-do list. The first “to-do” of productivity (sorry, I can’t help it) is to compose lists of everything that needs to be done. It’s easier for me to wrap my head around the amount of work I have to do if I write it out. These lists can include everything from what needs to be finished in a day to a ten-year plan.
To-do lists also help break big tasks into smaller components. If you had a huge project due at the end of the quarter, lists can help you establish a timeline to finish the project early and definitely help you not lose motivation.
You can also prioritize your list of things that need to get done. I have to see Raven every. single. day. So that definitely goes on my high priority task list. But buying those cute boots I see at the boutique across the street isn’t really necessary, so I can put that on a low priority. And I should probably but saving money for said boots at medium priority, too.
Plus, it’s ridiculously rewarding to cross items off of your to-do list.
Organize. I LOVE organization. My idea of a fun Sunday morning activity is cleaning out my closet and tidying up my house. Organizing your purse, your life, your house, heck, even your kitchen, can not only help you keep from procrastinating, but can also relieve anxiety about a dirty house or even just make you feel more put-together. I always sense a bit of accomplishment and motivation whenever I have a tidy living room or a clean kitchen. Then I want to organize my task list my tackling it.
Take breaks. The number one killer of motivation is burn out. If you don’t allow your body and mind to refresh every few hours, you will quickly reduce your concentration, and therefore, productivity.
The tricky thing I’ve experienced with taking breaks is rather simple. Avoid Netflix. Seriously, Netflix sucks you in and before you know it, you’ve watched 5 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and your final is in two days and you haven’t studied a lick. Instead, take ‘productive’ breaks. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like a chance to relax, but it actually works!
Let’s say that you have allocated 10 hours for studying over two days, or about 5 hours a day. If you take a break every hour or so (or whenever you feel yourself slipping in concentration), take 10 minutes to go make tea, coffee, doodle in a notebook, call your mom, eat some almonds, literally anything that gets you off of social media and gives your brain a rest. You can even switch activities for an hour and go do something else on your task list. Simply taking a break from anything using critical thinking skills will benefit your work.
Establish a (healthy) morning routine. I’m sure you’ve heard this. I think everyone has heard this. But I still think it’s important to mention, because I notice that variations in my morning routine can affect my productivity. Take Saturdays for example. If I lay in bed later, checking Instagram, and not working out until later in the day, I tend to not get anything done. But during my week, I wake up every morning at the same time, walk my dog at the same time, and continue on with my morning routine of making breakfast, getting ready for school, and I cannot forget coffee.
This routine allows me to budget my time out, but also reduces my laziness. Have somewhat of a plan for the mornings allows me to create more time in my day for activities.
Eat and drink well. Eat a vegetable. Have water. Simple as that! Give your brain healthy food to feel productive, increase concentration, and feel better. No one wants to work when their body feels like shit.
Leave room for fun! While productivity can seem like your sacrificing spontaneity, I would argue just the opposite. If you write down everything you have to do in a day, you should have a rough estimate of how much time you need. So for the other spare hours you have, go do something adventurous! Hang out with friends, let your mind relax. This is where you can watch the 1o episodes of Westworld all at once because you can’t just not.
So there you have it. These are rules I follow to increase my productivity. I love staying organized, having task lists, staying healthy, this all leads to a better lifestyle. While changing things in your routine are hard at first, they soon become second nature, and you’ll forget what it’s like to have Instagram open all of the time.